My Gout Story - Ruined Holidays, Wailing Cries, Excrutiating Pain
Back in 2014 it was announced that the UK was the European capital of Gout with 1 in 40 of us being affected and Gout cases were rising by at an astounding rate. Most people who haven't experienced Gout think to rosy faced middle aged round men drinking red wine. However this isn't quite true.
I was 30 and fit when I had my first gout attack - it came from nowhere and I was in work, I thought I had broken my foot so I stupidly drove myself to hospital thinking it was some kind of fracture. From the heat emitting from that part of the foot the doctor immediately said Gout. I shouldn't have been surprised as both my Father and brother had struggled with Gout. It got worse at the hospital and I remember struggling to walk back to the car. They can't recommend any medication during an attack, just Ibuprofen which I can't take due to an adverse reaction with another medication.
That first time it went away quite quickly but over the next few years attacks would come out of nowhere every few months. They would be in different places, right toe, left toe, mid part of foot, either ankle, sometimes knee.
The pain is excrutiating. A few years ago we drive to France through Plymouth. I could feel a chill the night we boarded the ferry - a sure sign that a gout attack was on it way and that uric acid levels were high as the body tried to cure itself. My knee and ankle were sore in the morning but I didn't tell my wife and tried to carry on. As the pain was in my knee for the first time it didn't feel like a normal attack - we stopped by a beach so I could go walking in the sea - the cold helped a bit for not for long. All I needed was cruthces but all pharmacies in France were closed on a Sunday. Monday Morning came and we found out that the words for Gout in French and English are the same apart from the pronunciation - GOOT. I had crutches but this was a gout attack at its worst - I couldn't sleep or get comfortable. I running a bath in the middle of the night to give some relief and knocking my knee and waking everybody off. Moaning in fits of pain. There was nothing I could do. On the Tuesday we decided we had to come home 4 days short. A holiday ruined. Of course by the Thursday I was fine and walking again.
The exact same thing happened to me a month later on a trip to Australia. I arrived at the hotel in Melbourne on a Sunday and immediately went to the doctors due to a worry over having a DVT from a long flight. By this time however I had discovered Colchicine - A medication that can be taken during an attack to stop it in its tracks. It makes you quite ill but I spent 36 hours in bed and was ready for 4 days of work in Melbourne.
Colchcine isn't nice and I can't believe it does much good for you but a number of times it has helped me and I always carry a number of pills when I travel. I was always told that I couldn't take Allopurinol due to suspected adverse effects with other medication. One doctor finally persuaded me to try it 2 years ago and since then I haven't had a gout attack. I'm Gout Free. No more holidays ruined. No more wailing in pain.
I was told many things that brought on Gout - tinned tomatoes, red wine, beer, steak but I don't think that helps.
Whenever my doctor sent me to check uric acid levels at the Blood clinic they were always ok because they'd missed the attack. I believe Gout is an underlying hereditary condition in regard to how uric acid is handled - very similar to how the body handles Glucose in Diabetes. Some people will be affected by it more than others.
All we can do is measure the Uric Acid levels and manage the condition. If you're medicated on Allopurinol it is a huge relief but a better diet and lifestyle will probably help too.